Keeping produce in the fridge will keep it fresh longer; however, there are some produce items you shouldn’t keep in the fridge. It is very easy to come home from the grocery store and put all of your produce items in the fridge. Yet, this is not necessarily the best idea. I never gave much thought to what produce I put in the fridge until a roommate was surprised that I put my potatoes in the fridge. She said that she never put potatoes in the fridge because it made them taste bad. After this conversation I realized that there are some items you shouldn’t keep in the fridge, and I should pay better attention to how I store my produce. Now, I never put the following items in the fridge.
Much to my surprise, potatoes are one of the produce items you shouldn’t keep in the fridge. I never thought the potatoes I stored in the fridge tasted bad; however, when I tried my roommate’s pantry stored potatoes I was surprised that they were much better. When potatoes are stored in a cold refrigerator the starches turn into sugar, which makes them taste oddly sweet when they are cooked. Also, it causes the potatoes to darken more when you cook them, which is not visually appealing. The best place to store potatoes is in a cool, dark area that is around 50 degrees. Stored this way, they will be good for 1 to 3 weeks.
Tomatoes are another item you want to keep out of the cold. When tomatoes are stored in the cold the cell walls of the tomatoes become damaged, which makes them soft and mushy. There is nothing appealing about soft and mushy tomatoes. To keep your tomatoes firm, you should store them at room temperature. Unless you want them to ripen, keep your tomatoes away from the sunlight. Also, to prevent bruising keep the stem side up. If you follow all of these tips for storing your tomatoes, you should have very tasty tomatoes.
Have you ever placed an onion in the refrigerator and had it make the other items in your fridge taste like onion? This has happened to me on several occasions, which is one of the reasons why I keep my onions out of the fridge. The other reason to keep them out of the fridge is that they will become soft in the cold, which isn’t terrible if you are cooking them. However, if you are serving a salad with raw onion, you will want a crunchy onion. Onions keep best when they are stored in a dry area away from potatoes, which will make them spoil faster. Storing your onions in a dry area will keep your fridge from smelling like onions and prevent your onions from turning mushy.
There is a reason why not very many people store bananas in the refrigerator. When bananas are stored in the cold their skin turns brown, which is really unappealing. Storing bananas in the fridge will not make the flesh ripe. In fact, it will stop the ripening process by slowing the conversion of starch into sugar. While all fruit should be eaten ripe, you really want to eat ripe bananas; otherwise you could end up with a stomach ache. So, to keep your bananas looking good and fully ripe, store your bananas at room temperature.
Melons have the best flavor when stored at room temperature. I can never resist a sweet summer melon that I just picked up from the farmer’s market. They taste divine. Aside from having the best flavor when stored at room temperature, melons that have been kept out of the cold also have the highest antioxidant levels. You want your fruit to have high antioxidant levels because antioxidants help neutralize oxidation that occurs in the body from physical and emotional stress. Of course, once you cut your melons you will want to store the leftovers in the refrigerator to prevent spoiling.
Avocados are another fruit that will never ripen in the fridge. I once made the mistake of putting a hard avocado in the fridge, and it was still hard two weeks later! Unless you are looking for really long term storage, I suggest you keep your avocados at room temperature. Aside from ripening quicker, they are also much more flavorful. Since avocados oxidize very rapidly, you will want to eat them soon after cutting. You can also put them in the fridge with a little lemon juice, which will slow down the process.
Garlic will last a really long time in the pantry. In fact, it can be stored in a pantry for up to two months. Once you break open the head to get out the cloves you can keep the garlic for 10 days. You should still keep the garlic out of the fridge because garlic can go moldy in the fridge. Also, garlic will lose its flavor if it is stored in the cold. You can, however, store minced garlic in the fridge for a short period of time.
All of these items are pretty common staples for people to have in their kitchen, and they should all be stored out of the fridge. Storing them at room temperature or, in the case of potatoes, slightly colder will help them taste their best. Now I know why pantries were so common years ago, they keep certain produce items tasting much better. Did you know you should keep these items out of the fridge?